When it comes to Aloe Vera Beverages, there are many to choose from. Here we will explore the differences in products based on how they are made and what there intended purpose is. This will help you determine what product is the best for you.
TWO PARTS OF THE ALOE VERA PLANT USED
There are two parts of the aloe vera plant used to make aloe drinks; the inner leaf gel and the outer leaf sap.
- Inner Leaf Gel – known for its immune stimulating and gut healing properties.
- Outer Leaf Sap – known for its laxative effect.
There used to be aloe vera products representing all three possibilities:
- Inner leaf gel only
- Inner leaf gel and outer leaf sap aka “whole leaf”
- Outer leaf sap only
However the NIH and FDA teamed up to conduct research using outer leaf extract and determined it was not safe for consumption. For this reason, you will no longer find capsules containing only dehydrated sap – that is, outer leaf aloe vera extract.
“Whole leaf aloe vera” drinks will have a laxative effect. People who purchase drinks made from whole leaf aloe vera purchase it for that reason. The laxative effect prevents them from drinking the amounts they may desire if they were trying to heal their inflammatory bowels or strengthen their immune systems against significant illness.
“Inner leaf aloe vera” drinks were either processed in a way to minimize contamination from the outer leaf or they had the outer leaf “aloin” filtered out using processing agents such as activated carbon and diatomaceous earth. Those that have been filtered generally have less of the inner leaf nutrients since many are removed in the process.
WHAT DOES REAL INNER LEAF GEL LOOK LIKE?
The best inner leaf gel is made right from the plant. It is not filtered, pasteurized, nor preserved. It does not have anything added. It does not contain thickeners or ingredients to change the texture, taste, color, or smell.
If you have an aloe vera plant you can make your own aloe vera gel to drink. It is easy to make. Just cut the ends of the leaves off, cut the spines off, wait about 5 minutes for the outer leaf aloin to bleed out. Next, rinse the leaf and then filet it to remove the skins.
The gel that is removed from the leaf can be eaten or put in a blender to turn it into a drinkable consistency. John Kohler from “Growing Your Greens” well demonstrated this process in the video below:
The gel to drink that comes out of the blender will be translucent and have lots of pulp in it. It can be consumed straight or be added to other juices. Haley Nutrition uses nearly this same technique to manufacture their “Aloe #1 Aloe Vera Gel”. The product is put in containers and frozen to preserve it in its natural state. Aloe #1 fresh frozen aloe vera is the most natural commercially available inner leaf aloe drink and is only second to you growing your own plant and making it fresh.
A jug of true inner leaf gel will have a “goopy” sound to it when you shake it. It will not splash like water unless it has been over filtered. Those that splash like water have less of the naturally occurring nutrients in them.
Beware of drinks that contain thickeners such as carrageenan in them. Thickeners are added to make it appear more like true aloe vera gel. Real aloe vera gel does not need thickeners.
WHOLE LEAF ALOE VERA GEL DRINKS
Aloe vera drinks that contain inner and outer leaf parts are usually labeled as “Whole Leaf Aloe Vera”. However, it might not be so obvious so be sure to check the ingredients to see if you are getting inner leaf gel or whole leaf.
Some brands make both inner leaf gel AND whole leaf. If you are told to purchase a certain brand and you see different labels in the aloe section of the store, be sure to read the label carefully. You wouldn’t want to get whole leaf by mistake when you only intended to get inner leaf gel. Consuming too much whole leaf aloe vera will send you to the facilities.
ALOE VERA GEL VS. RECONSTITUTED ALOE VERA
I have never seen or heard of aloe vera frozen concentrate; However aloe vera powders do exist. These powders are often put in capsules or used in beverages so the manufacturer can add aloe vera to the ingredients list.
Some aloe vera drinks have the aloe ingredient listed in milligrams such as “300 mg. aloe vera”. These aren’t actually aloe vera drinks but instead juices that have a measured amount of aloe vera powder in them.
Often these drinks have other fruit juices and maybe even sugars and flavors added. They are probably better for you than fruit juice that does not contain aloe vera. However you should not expect to see a significant health benefit as you might with real aloe vera drinks.
WHAT TO EXPECT
You have heard the expression “You Get What You Pay For”. This statement is certainly true when it comes to aloe vera. In some places you can find aloe vera for about $7.00 per gallon! However, these products might not test so well when it comes to looking for the nutritional markers for aloe vera.
In November of 2016, an article in the Chicago Tribune titled “No evidence of aloe vera found in the aloe vera at Wal-Mart, CVS, Target” exposed independent test results performed on products carried by the named retailers.
Real aloe vera inner leaf gel has only a mild bitterness. It should also have a slight garlic and onion taste. There are some brands that have no taste at all. In fact, one in particular is hard to tell the difference between it and water.
It does NOT mean that these products are not beneficial. But it is an indication that much of the aloe vera has been removed. It might still be “100% aloe vera” in the sense that nothing has been added. It is possible to filter aloe so much that there is only water left. Aloe vera, after all, is mostly water.
You are an individual an your desires will help you determine what brand is best for you. If you don’t like things that taste too healthy, a juice that contains aloe vera is better than none at all. If you like really healthy foods that have minimal processing, then Haley Nutrition’s Aloe #1 is probably right for you. For everyone else there are many brands in the middle of these extremes.